Who will be crowned 2020 West Cork Sports Star of the Year?

March 20th, 2021 6:30 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Helen Wycherley, Celtic Ross Hotel Director, presents the 2019 West Cork Sports Star of the Year Award to Conor Hourihane. Who will win the 2020 award?

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IT’S no secret that this is a golden era for West Cork sport as so many of our fellow West Corkonians display their talents on the national and international stages – and the Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star Awards have been there every step of the way.

These awards – run by the Celtic Ross Hotel, The Southern Star and C103 – are one of the biggest sports awards in the country and have grown in strength every year.

Since Gretta Cormican was named the very first West Cork Sports Star in 1998, these awards have crowned an overall winner every year, and it’s a real who’s who of sport. All-Ireland winning Cork football captain Graham Canty (2010), camogie legend Jennifer O’Leary (2002 and 2014), motorsport great Keith Cronin (2009), Cork football legend Nollaig Cleary (2006), Olympic rowers Eugene Coakley and Timmy Harnedy (2003 and 2005) and many more have been named West Cork Sports Star.

In recent years, world kickboxing champion Lily de la Cour (2015), Olympic medallists Gary and Paul O’Donovan (2016), world rowing champions Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll (2017), Ireland’s fastest woman Phil Healy (2018) and soccer star Conor Hourihane (2019) have all picked up the most coveted accolade in West Cork sport – but who will be crowned 2020 West Cork Sports Star of the Year? We’ll find out this Sunday night when, for the first time, the Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star Awards’ ceremony will be held live online.

The show will start at 7.30pm on Sunday night, March 21st, and, as always, it will be a celebration of West Cork sport, with the only difference this year being that the awards’ ceremony is a virtual celebration. But the good news is that even more sports fans can watch these awards online and discover what makes the Celtic Ross Hotel West Cork Sports Star Awards so special.

The guest speaker on the night will be 11-time All-Ireland winning Cork football legend Brid Stack who is currently living in Australia having swapped football for Aussie Rules, only for a serious neck injury to end her season.

On the night, five awards will be presented, and we already know four of the 2020 award winners. Rising Bandon AC star Nicola Tuthill has been announced as the West Cork Junior Sports Star, Courcey Rovers will accept the Special Achievement Award, Billy Good of Bandon Athletic Club will enter the Hall of Fame, and the county-title winning West Cork ladies football team will receive the Team of the Year Award.

That leaves one award winner to be named live on the night: the 2020 West Cork Sports Star of the Year.

While 2020 was a year like no other, when sport did get its chance our local sportspeople grabbed it with both hands and did what they do best. From rugby to Gaelic football, from camogie to athletics, from rowing to hurling, it was another terrific year for West Cork sport. That will be celebrated this Sunday on the live awards’ ceremony that starts at 7.30pm – keep an eye on social media channels in the next few days for the link to watch the show.

Here are the 13 West Cork Sports Star monthly winners from 2020 who are all in the running for the overall award:

David Lowney – The Clonakilty GAA star was honoured for his role in UCC’s Fitzgibbon Cup success. This was the first monthly award of 2020 and, as events transpired, the only presentation held in-person at the Celtic Ross Hotel.

Jack Crowley – He’s one of the rising stars in Munster rugby and the Innishannon man grabbed the headlines in early 2020 with his superb performances for Ireland U20s in the U20 Six Nations.

John Murphy – A man no stranger to success, the Kinsale golfer was in the headlines again when he was named the winner of the prestigious Byron Nelson Award, an American award, in May 2020.

Phil Healy – There’s just no catching Ireland’s fastest woman who won three more senior titles in 2020 (100m and 200m outdoor, 200m indoor) and also set a new Irish indoor 200m record.

Darragh McElhinney – Stepping up to the senior grade, the Glengarriff athlete took it in his stride as he won his first senior men’s national title when racing to 5000m glory at the Irish championships in August 2020.

Áine Terry O’Sullivan – What a year for the Allihies woman as she captained the West Cork senior ladies’ football team to their first-ever senior county championship title. West Cork have also picked up the 2020 Team of the Year Award.

Clare O’Leary – A mainstay with Clonakilty football for over a decade, she led her side to the 2020 county intermediate ladies’ football title, and promotion to the senior ranks for 2021.

Michelle O’Regan – Valley Rovers’ footballers got their hands on the 2020 Cork LGFA junior A football championship, with their captain leading the way.

Siobhan Courtney – Castlehaven won’t forget 2020 in a hurry as they won the Cork LGFA county junior B football championship, led by their inspirational captain.

Karyn Keohane – Courcey Rovers’ captain fantastic at full back, she played a leader’s role as they won the club’s first-ever county senior camogie championship crown last year. Courceys have also been named winners of the 2020 Special Achievement Award.

Orla Cronin – The Cork forward, recently named an All-Star for the first time, was the catalyst – and top scorer – behind Enniskeane’s famous 2020 county intermediate camogie championship success. They’re going senior this year.

Gavin Coombes – This Skibbereen man can do no wrong on the rugby pitch at the moment and he has emerged as Munster’s breakout star of the season, winning multiple man of the match awards and scoring nine tries in the process.

Lydia Heaphy – These awards wouldn’t be the same without rowing representation so it was brilliant to see Leap woman Lydia, who has come up through the ranks at Skibbereen Rowing Club, win gold at the 2020 U23 European Rowing Championships.


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